Hello, and welcome to Route 1 Reporter. I’m the editor, Michael Theis, and I’d like to thank you for your support. Your subscription helps fund in-depth beat coverage of politics, policy and policing in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Please note: The site is currently in an extreme “beta” version as I get everything up and running. I plan to begin posting original news content by the last week of May and to have the site fully operational by the end of June.
WHAT IS ROUTE 1 REPORTER?
Route 1 Reporter is a local news website focused on – as its name suggests – the public policy news coming out of Prince George’s County’s Route 1 communities, including (but not limited to) Mount Rainier, Hyattsville and College Park.
WHO ARE YOU?
I’m a journalist with more than 10 years experience covering local news. Some of you may already know me. I was the editor of the local news website Hyattsville Patch between 2011 and 2013, when Patch’s parent company laid off most of its reporters. I took my skills to Austin, where I worked as a staff writer and editor for a business newspaper. Recently, my fiancée’s career fortunes took us back to Prince George’s County. You can get a summary of my entire career on LinkedIn.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
I grew up here. My earliest memory is scraping my knee playing in a Mount Rainier park near my parent’s modest apartment as a toddler. In Hyattsville, I watched as the Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station rose above the horizon behind my childhood home. From my teenage home in College Park, I ventured out upon the Anacostia tributary trails to explore the region’s slivers of natural beauty. I’m a proud alum of Hyattsville and Paint Branch elementary schools, Nicholas Orem Middle School, and DeMatha Catholic High School. I have deep ties within this community, I believe it has a lot to offer to those who choose to live and work here, and I want to see our community prosper in an equitable manner.
That’s all a very long way of saying that I care deeply about these vibrant communities, which – collectively – I consider to be my hometown. Presently, I feel that my hometown lacks a comprehensive outlet-of-record to hold elected officials and businesses accountable to the public. The D.C. region’s larger news outlets provide only a paucity of coverage in Prince George’s County. The smaller outlets are either singularly-focused, topically limited, or lack a real stake in the community. The result is an ill-informed community whose civic debates bend toward reactionary hyperbole. I believe I can help to create a better-informed community by offering a higher quality of news coverage for Prince George’s Route 1 communities. That’s why I am launching Route 1 Reporter.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO EXACTLY?
As I wrote earlier, I’ll be producing “in-depth beat coverage” of the news coming out Prince George’s County’s Route 1 municipal communities. On a weekly basis, that means I’ll be attending multiple public meetings in cities and towns up and down Route 1 to document and report on the debates and actions taken therein. I also bring significant skills to bear with investigative reporting as well as data analysis and visualization. I plan to use these skills to produce in-depth enterprise reporting on law enforcement accountability, economic development and political influence in the Route 1 corridor and Prince George’s County.
WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO READ THE ARTICLES?
Journalism is a resource-intensive activity, and I cannot eat page views. You can subscribe here, via Patreon. To use a technical term, I am “unemployed,” and your subscription patronage helps compensate me for the time and effort required to produce beat coverage of an area with multiple municipal governments to track. At a certain level of subscribers at the $5 per-month tier – around 1,000 – I’ll be able to call off my job hunt and equitably hire additional freelance writers to augment my efforts by producing special reports on deeply-researched topics of community importance.